Text: Charlotte Safavi
Stylist: Charlotte Safavi
Photos: Robert Radifera for Stylish Productions
In 2016, Easton-based architect Christine Dayton received a call to visit the 7-acre site of an older second home on an inlet off the Chesapeake Bay. It was owned by a Philadelphian, whose family had enjoyed time there over the years and who was now passing the baton on to his two sons.
“The property had spectacular 180-degree waterfront views,” says Dayton. “The idea was to replace the existing dated house and build a much larger home for the brothers who planned to share the home with their families.”
Dayton soon joined the design team that included interior designer Susan Taylor of Black-eyed Susan Style, who had worked on several prior projects for the family. Dayton also brought in local builder Bob Gearhart of Focus Construction to help with the new build.
“We are known for our high-quality work and attention to detail, as well as for our technical expertise and capacity to deliver large-scale projects,” says Gearhart.
Construction of the three-story 6,000-square-foot home was completed in 2019. The style of the home is what Dayton describes as “Eastern Shore Farm Manor House.” The resulting house has a spacious, open main living space that the two families share, including a family room, kitchen, and game room/dining area. Then, there are book-matched wings on either side of the ground floor, each containing owners’ suites for the two married couples.
“There are also two additional bedrooms on the second and third floors mirroring that plan, with shared living areas on each level,” says Taylor.
With its pre-engineered white oak floors and white-painted shiplap walls and ceilings, the house has a subtle nautical feel, though the interiors have a timeless classic-meets-modern-farmhouse style. All exterior materials and finishes were selected to endure harsh weather conditions, as the area gets both snow and heat.
“Ultimately, the home is sited on the waterfront in a rural area. The architectural style of the home (and its interiors) fits the surroundings and provides a welcome setting. Virtually every room in the house has a water view,” says Dayton.
The home has several special interior architectural design features, such as a custom 10-foot-tall glass-front breakfront in the kitchen and a flagstone-faced wet bar in the family room. The game room has an entire wall of custom bookshelves, providing ample storage and display space for family heirlooms and collections.
“The staircase is a floating sculptural piece that features wrought-iron railing and flows from the main floor to the third floor,” says Dayton.
“To complement the modern farmhouse vibe, we went with bold, black-framed windows and crisp white painted interiors,” says Taylor of the interior’s base palette, adding, “The family wanted a cohesive interior style that exuded comfort and beauty, that was approachable for family living.”
A clean-lined neutral sectional defines the main seating in the family room, along with a pair of tan leather swivel armchairs. The furniture is centered on a stone-veneered partial wall that holds a TV and also contains a two-sided fireplace. The opposite side of the fireplace opens onto the game room, painted a moody blue, and its adjacent main dining area.
“Fine neutral furnishings were sourced in performance fabrics that would last many years,” says Taylor. “The home serves as a retreat, so practicality with a dose of impactful style was our approach.”
Whether a textile with waterfowl, as in the upholstered dining chairs, or built-in window seats with nautical-style storage, the waterfront setting is brought into the house, as well as ever-beckoning from outside. Dayton made sure to include 1,700 square feet of outdoor living spaces to provide ample opportunities to spend time out in the open.
“The ability to open the doors on each floor—whether from the central shared part of the house or the more private family wings—the indoor-outdoor extension of living space is key to the livability of this waterfront home in this idyllic location,” says Dayton.